Sunday, 30 November 2014

Happy 11th Birthday, Jonathan!

Today is a very special day... my brother Jonathan turns 11!

Jonathan, or Johnny, is the sixth oldest in our family, and the second oldest boy. He's such a good big brother to the little kids, always playing with them, reading them stories and helping out with whatever projects are on the go.

He is an absolutely wonderful boy, a special friend and a wonderful brother.

Happy birthday, Johnny! May God bless you richly in your twelfth year!
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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Smithies Family Christmas Newsletter 2014

For all those who are:

a) family friends,
b) curious distant acquaintances, or
c) just plain random curious people -

I have uploaded our family's annual Christmas newsletter to my blog. You can find it by going here.

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Saturday, 22 November 2014

How Many Dogs Does It Take To Change A Light Bulb?

How Many Dogs Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb? - author unknown
(Sharing it here with you because I read this and laughed so hard - it's brilliant! I just knew you'd love it too. :) )

Golden Retriever: The sun is shining, the day is young, we've got our whole lives ahead of us, and you're inside worrying about a stupid burned-out light bulb? 

Border Collie: Just one. And I'll replace any wiring that's not up to code. 

Dachshund: I can't reach the stupid lamp! 

Toy Poodle: I'll just blow in the Border collie's ear and he'll do it. By the time he finishes rewiring the house, my nails will be dry. 

Rottweiler: Go Ahead! Make me! 

Shi-tzu: Puh-leeze, dah-ling. Let the servants. . . 

Lab: Oh, me, me!!! Pleeeeeeze let me change the light bulb! Can I? Can I? Huh? Huh? Can I? 

Malamute: Let the Border collie do it. You can feed me while he's busy.

Jack Russel Terrier: I’ll just pop it in while I’m bouncing off the walls and furniture.

Bulldog: Just one, but it takes them 3 years to do it.

Doberman Pinscher: While it's dark, I'm going to sleep on the couch. 

Mastiff: Mastiffs are NOT afraid of the dark. 

Great Dane: Just give me back my blanket and do it yourself.


German Shepherd: I’ll change it as soon as I’ve led these people from the dark, check to make sure I haven’t missed any, and make just one more perimeter patrol to see that no one has tried to take advantage of the situation.

 Chihuahua: Yo quiero Taco Bulb.

 Pointer: I see it, there it is, right there... 

 Greyhound: It isn't moving. Who cares? 

 Australian Shepherd: Put all the light bulbs in a little circle... 

 Old English Sheep Dog: Light bulb? Light bulb? That thing I just ate was a light bulb?

Are you a doggy person or a cat person?
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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Sticking Together So We Can Stop Traffic

Go back and read that quote again. I know you just skimmed through it. ;)

You read it again? Great. Good job. Now read it a third time, but this time actually think about what it could possibly mean.

You did that? *100 brownie points from Bonnie* :)

But seriously, it's an interesting thought isn't it? Let's analyse that quote. Let's dig a little deeper and see if we can really understand what it is trying to say.

Christians, like snowflakes, are frail. Well to me this first bit is a little like, "duh, seriously?" I mean, we are frail. The Bible says in Psalm 103 vs 13-16 (emphasis added):

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.

So okay, we get that we are frail. Cool. Great. Awesome. Movin' right along.

.....but when they stick together, they can stop traffic. Yay! This is really gettin' into the interesting stuff, now, folks! Who knew that something as massively awesome as being able to stop traffic comes from sticking together with other like-minded believers?

I know some of you may interpret this quote as to it's first apparent meaning (stick to other Christians), hence the long "go back and take another look at it" bit at the start. Aha, you think. Now I get it. Yes, you do! Good for you. ;)

I see this whole quote as a call to prayer. Actually, here is that sentence again in bigger font because it's so important.

I see this whole quote as a call to prayer.

So some of you people may know that I am a leader at holiday kids camps called Good News camps, so basically we get all these random local kids out to camp for a week, give them a blast at all sorts of awesome activities but also explain the gospel to them and that sort of stuff. Anyway, as a leader, I am required by the leadership to have three prayer partners who pray for me while I am away at camp. 

I always try and get more than three prayer partners because well, who can get too much prayer?! :) But anyway, this one camp I was really busy beforehand and I got my three prayer partners and they did a fantastic job praying hard out for me during camp. Which was totally awesome and everything. But you know what? I really felt like that was a really hard camp. I found it exhausting both physically and emotionally. I know I had people praying, but I felt like I could really have done with more pray-ers! That was the hardest camp I've ever done and I feel like it was because I had less prayer coverage than usual. There are probably other factors too, but that is the main one I think.

It is amazing how effective prayer is. 
Whenever I get into a bit of a sticky situation my first response is to find someone who can pray for me / with me until the stickyness of the situation is cleared up.

So anyway, back to the quote. If we stick together we are way more effective and powerful than each of us going our own individual little ways. Well how about we pray for each other? Prayer is a massive weapon against the enemy. 

"The greatest thing anyone can do for God or man is pray." S.D. Gordon

"Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees." Corrie ten Boom

So, who to pray for?
Here are just a few ideas of people and things to pray for. The list goes on and on! I'm sure you can think of many others to add to the list. 

- Friends
- Missionaries
- Family members
- Churches
- World leaders
- Current events
- Cities and countries

What I often do is pray that the Lord will lay someone on my heart that needs prayer that particular day then just pray hard out for that person all day long! They never know I prayed for them, but I'm sure a battle is being fought in the heavenly realm.

Join with me in prayer - oh, and snowflakes, let's see how much traffic we can stop!
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PS. Not wanting to distract from the point of this post, but just saying, this is the 400th post on my blog!

Monday, 17 November 2014

To Make You Giggle

I know another person who hates math - the writer of that article. ;)

Yeah, shark, kindly remove your presence from the vicinity.

Basically, yes.

(Well they planned that sign well!!)

Oh, and if you are looking for a whole lot of seriously ADORABLE animals, this post is awesome. :)
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Friday, 14 November 2014

A Christmassy Decoration Tutorial

So recently I've been helping Lydia, Caleb and Jacob decorate their bedrooms for Christmas. (It's a family tradition that we each decorate our respective rooms.)  I made some of these cute little Christmassy flowers for my room last year, and this year Lydia said she really wanted to make some for her room. So I helped her, Caleb and Jacob make some each and they turned out quite nicely.

Materials needed:
- Cardboard tubes (we used empty toilet paper rolls)
- Red and/or green paint
- Paintbrush
- Glue
- Scissors

What to do
1. Gather together all the little siblings you are going to do the craft with. (Or don't, if you're just making it for yourself.)
2. Paint the cardboard tubes red or green, depending on what you like. Or you could do some of each like we did.
3. Wait for the paint to dry completely. At this point you could also paint the insides of the tubes if you wanted to. We didn't, so we have a kind of green-and-gold or red-and-gold look going on with the unpainted inside and the painted outside of the flowers.
4. When the paint is dry, squeeze the cardboard tubes so they are flattish. Then cut the tubes into sections, cutting either five or six sections depending on whether you want to end up with a six petalled or five petalled flower.

Six sections
Five sections

5. Arrange the sections into a flower shape and glue. Be careful not to allow the glue to drip onto the paper underneath the flower or you will end up with the flower stuck to the paper. (Yes, I speak from experience - look at that atrocious gluing job I made of the flower captioned 'six sections'!)
6. Wait for the glue to dry. (I took the photos right after we glued them so that's why they look a bit messy. I don't have any of the finished product, sorry!)
7. Pick up the flower off the paper. Be very gentle because sometimes they fall to bits at this point if you haven't glued them properly. If it needs more glue, then glue it more.
8. Your flower is now completely finished! Stick it somewhere where it will be seen. We stuck ours on mirrors and they look super awesome.

And the reason you get this lovely tutorial, folks, is because after Lydia had her flowers completely finished, she exclaimed to me "Oh, Bonnie! You should put how to make these on your blog!" - so there you go. :)
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EDIT: After I had written this post, I came across something a friend shared on Facebook: this. 

Exactly the same idea, but way cooler because it's done with GLITTER paint and painted inside and out. I just may have to make a few more.... ;)

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

50 Things To Do If You Are Bored

Now, I know that none of you are ever bored. I'm sure you have millions of extremely important uses for your time, and I know that you plan your time very carefully so that you don't have a single "what on earth shall I do now?" moment.
However, maybe, just maybe, you might find yourself wondering what to do with ten minutes. Or even a stray ten seconds. Next time you get a few spare moments, think back to this list and pick an item.
This list is arranged in three parts: hour fillers, minute fillers and second fillers. Surely that's self explanatory! :)

Hour Fillers
1. Read a book
2. Clean out a cupboard
3. Write a long letter to someone telling them how amazing they are
4. Go for a walk or a bike ride
5. Start a game of Monopoly with someone else who is bored (or just play it with yourself)
6. Do a puzzle - the bigger the better!
7. Make a phone call to a far-away relative / friend
8. Write a poem
9. Rearrange something completely random
10. Spend time with a friend
11. Memorize that passage of Scripture you've been wanting to memorize
12. Draw a picture
13. Count to a million
14. Cook something awesome, preferably with a new recipe
15. Pick out new words in the dictionary and learn them. Then use them.
16. Make a bucket list
17. Do a crossword puzzle

Minute Fillers
18. Pick up some of the mess on the floor
19. Practice a musical instrument
20. Indulge in a few minutes worth of your favourite hobby
21. Do a diary entry
22. Play a game with someone
23. Step off a curb with your eyes shut and pretend it's a cliff
24. Pretend you are blind
25. Do some origami
26. Wash the dishes
27. Write a list
28. Or a blog post
29. Or both
30. Think of a random person you know, and pray for them
31. Learn to whistle inwards as well as outwards
32. Read a book to someone small
33. Climb a tree
34. Sew that missing button back onto your clothes

Second Fillers
35. Give someone a piggyback
36. Do starjumps
37. Stare at the back of someone's head until they turn around
38. Do a cartwheel
38. Find someone and tickle them
40. Tell someone they are awesome
41. Practice speaking in a different accent
42. Blow up a balloon until it pops
43. Or just blow up a balloon and pop it with a pin
44. Or blow up a balloon and let it go and shoot around the room
45. Find a skipping rope and skip
46. Practice writing with your non-dominant hand
47. Smile
48. Wink at yourself in a mirror
49. Practice holding your breath
50. Take a photo

Was this list helpful? What do you do when you are bored?
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Saturday, 8 November 2014

A + A // Hand Cream Everywhere + Maybe They Named Their Baby Floppywoppy

Time for another awkward and awesome post, peoples! I find myself going through my day stopping every so often thinking "Oh! That would be a good 'awkward' moment for a blog post" or "That was truly awesome". So I had better provide you with some of my awkward and awesome moments before I forget them! :) Enjoy.

- Trying hard for a long, long time to think of a suitable pun retort to a pun-loaded statement by another person. I couldn't think of anything. Whatsoever.
- Spending ages filling up all the sauce bottles at work, then actually managing to hold them all in my arms at once on the way to put them away. However, I neglected to make sure they were secure in my arms and I dropped them all on the floor. All of them. Don't ever do that, friends. It's so much more worth it to carry them in two separate trips and not risk dropping them.
- That moment when you are deeply engrossed in what you are doing, then you suddenly become aware of the silence around you and look up. Everyone in the room is watching you."Um, did someone say something to me?"
- Squeezing a tube of hand cream just a little too hard.. virtually the entire contents of the tube come out and you have this absolutely humungous mess of hand cream everywhere.
- Reading a whole bunch of reviews on Amazon for sugar free gummy bears. (Here, if you are that way inclined.) Oh. My. Goodness.
- Feeling like you are about to faint and hoping earnestly you don't. ("What will those people think of me if I suddenly keel over and land splat on the floor?") Thankfully, I didn't faint.
- Sharing one of my my most embarrassing moment ever with someone then being hit with remorse afterward. Why on earth did I share that??? Why did they need to know? Why can't I keep my mouth shut? .. . hopefully the entire world won't know it now....
- Assuming that a person is a certain age because they look a certain age. Then being told that, actually, no, they are ten years older than you think they are.
- Mum: "No, they might not have named their baby what you thought they did. They might have picked a different name, like Floppywoppy."
- When you are at orchestra and you mishear some important information. I thought they were going to start from bar 24 when they started at bar 4. I played this very loud chord when everyone was supposed to be silent. And wished I could sink through the floor.

- Christmas carols!! Yay for Christmas carols! Double yay for Christmas carols! Triple yay for..... (etc, etc)  yeah, I think you get the idea.
- Pranking! We substituted the victim's icecream for frozen mayonnaise. It went beautifully.
- Doing Christmas crafts with Lydia and Caleb. Here's a sneaky peek of what we were up to. Those flowers were made out of empty toilet paper rolls.

- Decorating our bedrooms all Christmassy.
- Discussing bacon, avocado and tomato sandwiches with a friend. Does it get any better than this????
- Rhododendrons flowering... so beautiful!
- Writing poetry. That not only rhymes but the syllables actually work (for once!) and it makes sense. It's a good feeling.
- Caramello chocolate.
- The smell of double delight roses. We have a bush of them flowering outside our kitchen window. I just wish I could bottle up some of the smell and send it to you via this blog post! It's such a gorgeous smell and they are so pretty too. Here's a photo, you'll just have to imagine the smell. :)

- Giving someone help with their computer. I'm not much of a computer whiz really (no computer whiz genes in me at all, folks!) but I do know how to do most of the basics. It feels good when you can pass on information to others and know that you're saving them a lot of hassle of working it out themselves.
- Knowing that whatever problems we have, we can take them to Jesus whenever and however. And he's always going to listen. :)

Any awkward or awesome moments for you recently? Do share!
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Thursday, 6 November 2014

A Sunday Afternoon Walk

So I've been meaning to post these photos for simply aaaages! Sorry that I haven't managed to get around to it before now. I'm really very slack when it comes to posting photos, mostly because the computer takes ages to upload them to the post and I can never be bothered waiting! :) But today I decided to do it and I'm glad I've finally gotten around to it. 

These photos were all taken by me apart from the last one. All of them (except said last one) were taken one Sunday afternoon when my family went for a walk in a beautiful place quite close to us. 

Looking over the photos again I'm thinking there's a remarkable lot of photos of the backs of my family members. Please excuse this and admire the beautiful scenery. The day was absolutely gorgeous and we had a lot of fun.

Daddy with Jana in the backpack with Sophie and Ben behind him

Setting off (I'm not in any of the photos because I'm with the camera.)

"Smile for the camera!"

We walked past some random houses

And over a random bridge

Isn't the colour of the grass so vibrant?

Meet one of the locals :)

There's all of us, except me with the camera and Abbie who was actually with her horses that afternoon.

It was quite windy, but you can't really tell.

Just looking at that photo now I realized I can't see Caleb. So I asked him where he was and he said that he was playing in the bushes to the right of the photo! :) It looks like Johnny was too.

And this is a photo from when most of our family went to a local A and P show. I included it because I think it's such a cute photo of the youngest three. (And Sophie and Jana too, of course!) Isn't it adorable?

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Monday, 3 November 2014

Criticism vs. Encouragement

Hello everyone!

Recently I have had a very critical attitude towards one of my family members. God convicted me of it when I read in my Bible reading 1 Thessalonians 5:11 which says "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." I thought: Am I building up and encouraging that person? No! I'm tearing them down!
I asked the person who I was critical towards to forgive me and they did, and I have asked God to help me be encouraging and loving to each member of my family.

Why am I telling you this?

I think it's so important that we know how much harm our critical words can do. Here are some Bible verses that talk about critical words and the power of the tongue.

Proverbs 18:21
The power of the tongue is life and death— those who love to talk will eat what it produces.

Proverbs 15:1
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Matthew 12:36-37
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment

Because our tongues are powerful. They are extremely powerful, aren't they! What we say cannot be undone no matter how speedily we say "I didn't mean to say that." They leave a lasting impression.

Ephesians 4:29
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Let me encourage you to be encouraging towards those around you. It's so wonderful to be an encourager. 
Even if you think critical thoughts towards someone but don't voice them, it can still be picked up in your attitude. Think encouraging thoughts.

Acts 20:35
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Do you feel special when someone encourages you? Well, since it is more blessed to give than to receieve, imagine how much more awesome it is when you encourage others!

Proverbs 12:25
Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.

Let's all be encouragers!
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Saturday, 1 November 2014

Skydiving and the Splits

How are you all this weekend? My week has been busy (like always!) and I've been looking forward to the weekend very much. Now it's here, yay!!

Seeing…I always think this question is so strange. How can I be seeing anything other than what I'm typing, on the computer screen?
Hearing… Danella playing the harp in the background. It's a lovely sound.
Tasting… fried potato with tuscan seasoning.
Feeling… very tired, but very excited and very happy. :)
Thinking… of epic pun battles. So much pun-ishment. But absolutely pun-tastic.
Laughing… at the funny things family members say. Not just the little kids, I might add.
Recovering… from stretching hard out all week. I can now happily report I can do the splits again, after over 6 months of not being able to. It's quite a good feeling.
Anticipating… my skydiving trip! :) Yeah, you didn't know I'm going skydiving, did you??? It's going to be sometime early next year, hopefully.
Praying… that I don't freak out when I'm about to jump out of the plane.
Dreaming… of a white christmas... na, just kidding. :) Here in sunny NZ we get a lovely summery christmas!! In less than two months! I'm excited! Are you???
Reading… My facebook news feed.... someone's engaged and someone's just had a baby! :D :D :D
Singing… "Make me like you"
Wearing… a pink t-shirt and a grey skirt
Preparing… this blog post, duh.
Googling… the time difference between South Africa and NZ
Working… very hard on this blog post, as you can see ;)
Sewing… absolutely zilch
Suffering… the agony of overstretching and man, it hurts. But still totally worth it.
Practicing… the splits again! I am so not going to go out of practice again.

I cut some of the verbs from the list because I couldn't think of anything to put next to them. :)

Hoping your weekend is wonderful!

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